Book Review: The Poisionwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver’s modern classic, The Poisonwood Bible, follows the lives of a Southern Baptist Missionary family. It begins when they move from their small home in Georgia to a village in the middle of the Congo. The book is written in the perspectives of the mother, Orleanna, and her four daughters: Rachel, the oldest, Leah and Adah, the middle twins, and Ruth May, the youngest.

The plot is driven by the girl's perspective on their lives in the Congo and their conflicts with their patriarchal and overbearing father, Nathan. In the first half of the story you read about their early days in the Congo as we witness Nathan’s many attempts to convert the local villagers to Christianity. Despite her father's valiant efforts, Ruth May becomes the most liked by the villagers. Her cheery attitude soon gains her a small adoring crowd of friendly village children and adults.

Tensions flare up as Nathan becomes increasingly blinded by his search for his most righteous life and not longer looks out for his family's well-being. With his distraction from what is happening underneath his own nose and the girls new longing for independence, the family slowly grows apart. The story follows the girls into their adult lives as they find their own beliefs and ideas about God, the people around them, and themselves.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a thought-provoking read. The characters are very genuine and relatable, and the arduous struggles they experience feel very realistic. The different perspectives allow for a well-rounded read. Though Leah has the most outspoken and serious voice throughout the novel, Adah’s sarcastic narrations and Ruth May’s innocent observations help move the story along and provide many humorous moments. The book brought up questions for me about faith, politics, and human motives. It's a challenging read but well worth the journey. I hope you find it as thought-provoking as I did.

Freshman. Field Hockey. Band. Avid Reader. Farmer. All history lessons should be taught as rap songs....**cough,cough** Hamilton**cough,cough**.

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